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March Violets

This rock band with definite Goth leanings was formed in England in December 1981.

Laurence “Loz” Elliot (bass) met Simon “Detroit” Denbigh (vocals) at Leeds University, and the latter recruited an old friend, Tom Ashton (guitar). Together with hastily recruited female singer Rosie Garland, they entered the studio – with percussion provided by a drum machine nicknamed “Dr Rhythm” – to record an EP (Religious as Hell) which brought them subsequent exposure on BBC disc jockey John Peel‘s show.

After further releases on the fashionable Merciful Release label, they acquired the services of Travis when he replaced the original drum machine in late 1984.

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Simon left owing to a “mutual decision” while Cleo Murray joined as second female vocalist for their Snakedance single in 1983.

By this time the band behind only retained Tom from the original lineup.

In 1986 they signed to London Records, adding drummer Andy Tolson to the lineup and releasing Turn To The Sky, which just scraped the bottom of the charts.

By this time they were trying to shake off the Goth tag, emphasising that their influences were bands like ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and The Pretenders.

The band broke up late in 1986 but reunited in 2007 for a one-off reunion gig in Leeds with original members Denbigh, Garland and Ashton, plus Mat Thorpe standing in on bass.

Plans for further shows were put on hold during Rosie Garland’s successful fight against throat cancer in 2009. Once Garland was fully recovered, the March Violets played their first London show in 25 years in October 2010 with new bassist Joanna Moy. A new album, called Made Glorious, was released in April 2013.

In August 2015, the band confirmed that Moy had left the band and the following month, they announced an American tour with William Faith on bass. The album Mortality was released in 2016, after which Denbigh suffered a stroke and was hospitalised for a long period.

Simon “Detroit” Denbigh
Vocals
Rosie Garland
Vocals
Cleo Murray
Vocals
Tom Ashton
Guitar
Laurence “Loz” Elliot
Bass
Andy Tolson
Drums

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